Geographers investigate

Posted: 14th September 2020

Fieldwork in the time of coronavirus.

Mr Chappory, Head of Geography, reports on the field visits which took place at the end of last week when he and his band of intrepid Geographers ventured to the south coast.

‘Despite some changes to A Level requirements for our current Upper VI, changes to Geography fieldwork is not one of them. The expectation from all exam boards is that candidates will produce an NEA (Non-exam assessment) in the form of a fieldwork investigation worth 20% of the A Level in Geography. Traditionally, this has been achieved by studying a wide range of hypotheses relating to coastal processes and their management along the Cambrian Coast as part of a five day residential visit to Aberystwyth University.

Of course, this has not been possible, for obvious reasons, and yet our intrepid A Level Geographers are in the process of producing fieldwork write-ups on coastal processes and management as we speak.  Students, Parents, the school and the Geography Department have found a way to conduct the coastal fieldwork in 2020, which for the last three years has won us so much acclaim.

I might add that the exam board’s recommendation for conducting fieldwork in the time of coronavirus is to go to a local park and compare soil infiltration rates. Thanks to all parties involved, I think we managed a little better than that.

Brighton Time!…

On Thursday 10th and Friday 11th September, Upper VI pupils Ava and Libby, together with parent of one of the students, Mrs Jarvis, and myself headed down to Brighton for two consecutive day trips of heavy duty data collection. Our aim was to conduct the necessary fieldwork to provide lots of data in order to write NEAs on the extent to which the Brighton and Hove Shoreline Management Plan have successfully managed longshore drift and coastal erosion in the area.

The students were incredibly motivated and collected three and a half days of data in two days. They found ingenious ways of recording the data and saving time. Here is a photo taken by one of our girls of her colleague writing down the height of the umpteenth sea wall at some point along the Undercliff Walk (by using a piece of the local chalk geology) and another photo of both girls standing by a terminal groyne.

Ava and Libby showed incredible resilience, working really long hours at pace. I myself found it hard to apply all the skills from the Aberystwyth residential field trip (which I have done over 20 times now) to the area between Brighton and Saltdean which, although geologically and geomorphologically simpler than the Cambrian Coast, is far more complex in terms of the way the coast is managed by the Shoreline Management Plan.

Here are the girls hard at work on their beach profiles.

Transportation could have been an issue, were it not for the efforts of Mrs Jarvis who, as well as being one of the student’s mother, many of you may know as an Art teacher at St Augustine’s Priory. Thank you, Mrs Jarvis.

Aber…Kedabra!…

However, one of our A Level students will do her write-up on Aberystwyth and the way in which this rather complex part of the Cambrian Coast is managed by people. Milly attended the Aberystwyth field trip in July 2019 (accompanying the previous year group) and gathered a wealth of data when she was still in Upper V. This weekend Milly and her mother will visit family who live in the Aberystwyth Hinterland and will spend the weekend revisiting all 11 sites visited in 2019. The problem of transportation has again been beaten by one of our parents.

Diolch yn fawr, Mrs T!

Here is Milly measuring the complex geological structure of this coast, somewhere near Aberystwyth. Maybe this weekend a certain 54 year old Head of Geography might visit a friend at Aberystwyth and appear to join the Tobins, like…Aber..Kedabra!’

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